Relationships and Sex Education

Typical Challenges in RSE

Back in February I was approached by a head of pastoral education to work with staff on some specific challenges and themes in RSE. On consultation with her colleagues, they had reached a consensus. Two overarching challenges had emerged - lack of subject specific knowledge and how to position their own personal experiences and convictions within their classroom practice and ethos. Curricular themes included pornography, sexualities, sexual practices and the place of RSE in a secular school with students of multiple faiths. In short, many of the challenges typically faced by teachers in UK schools.

Except this was an international school in Prague.

'No Apause, please.'

Having worked hard on my preparation, I opted for a very practical and fun approach, hoping to leave them with some useful starting points, resources and a sense of their own growing agency. I was happy to point to the work of the Sex Education Forum, and ‘Do RSE for Schools’ alongside many other useful web-based sources. I had been explicitly requested NOT to train in, or promote, our Apause approach - just offer it as another available resource.

'More Apause, please.'

I was surprised and excited to be invited back for two more full days of training in August. This time my brief was quite different. The staff needed clear models, and a very practical, ‘hands-on’ approach to understanding and navigating their way through our range of Apause exercises. I had four sessions of two and half hours. Each with a group of 15 – 20 form tutors.

What worked? - Hands-on, classroom videos, flexible guidelines.

This was a privilege. It gave me the rare opportunity to experiment with and refine some novel approaches to articulating our philosophy and exploring our work. I learned three practical lessons: a) they wanted to handle the resource and interact with their colleagues as peers, in much the same way as their students would, b) they valued seeing videos showing how the same resources stimulated interactions amongst English students, and c) they were reassured that our Teacher Guides were no more than that, just one way of navigating through the process of organising the resources and focusing the learners’ interactions, feedback and class discussion. Each teacher was encouraged to develop their own distinctive style of facilitation.

For evaluation, I asked them to comment on how practical and useful they had found the training and resources.

The whole experience inspired me to have another look at our home page and redesign it to reflect a growing insight into how Apause might contribute to the challenges of statutory RSE. Check out our new Home Page.

Testimonials from curriculum leaders

Testimonials about resources and training

A healthy RSE curriculum is always going to be work in progress and experts and service providers need to work reciprocally with frontline practitioners. This is the beginning of my relationship with Prague British International School.

If you would like to discuss our work, try out and give feedback on some free samples, or collaborate on a project, contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I would love to hear from you.

David Evans